My friends, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. Read the following excerpt I found in an advice column in the vaunted academic publication, Chronicle of Higher Education. As an ardent once-aspiring academic (who am I kidding—half of my day is usually spent contemplating my return to academia), I like keeping up with what’s going on in the academic world, especially in the humanities and social sciences. But I won’t bore you with my pontification anymore—on to the single most hilarious advice-seeking letter ever published. The emphasis is mine.
I’m tussling with my committee about my dissertation topic. I want to do something new, different, and interesting to me and others in my age cohort.
Specifically, I want to write about Pussy Riot, because they’re the most important cultural event of the 21st century. My committee’s mostly older people, over 50, and they don’t know or appreciate what I’m talking about. They disapprove. They cringe.
But I want to write for the future, not live in the past. How can I persuade them to let me do my dissertation on Pussy Riot?
Ah, yes. How fascinating. We are a mere fourteen years into the twenty-first century, my friends, yet the most important cultural event has already happened! We all should be bowing down and thanking this Future Academic Superstar for her benevolence in informing us of this. No matter what happens in the future years of the twenty-first century—all eighty-five of them!—that “performance” by those immature, offensive, ungrateful, and just plain stupid young women of The Band That Must Not Be Named will forever remain the most important cultural event of this century.
Oddly enough, the genial advice-giving professor who writes the column gives the same advice I would give: don’t touch that topic with a ten-foot pole. Admittedly, her reasons are much different from mine and mainly focus on the topic being much too recent and developing (as in, by the time the dissertation is finished, it may be already out of date). Though I suppose I should be grateful for small favors that her advice leads to the outcome I prefer (specifically, no dissertation on The Band That Must Not Be Named).
Photo credit: спасибо Википедии